Gransnet forums


Increasing atmospheric CO2 may be staving off an ice age

(6 Posts)
Bags Sat 10-Nov-12 21:04:10

Some folks at Gothenburg University are suggesting this. It's not the first time I've come across the idea. It does seem to make logical sense. What do other people think?



Human emissions of fossil carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting increase in temperatures may be holding off the next ice age, according to research from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

“We are probably entering a new ice age right now,” Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement today. “However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.”

Franzen and three other researchers calculated how much of Sweden might be covered by peat lands during an interglacial, the period between two ice ages. Peat absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and the study found that the country’s carbon-sink potential could increase six- to 10-fold, which theoretically might cause a drop in temperatures.

Increased felling of woodlands and expansion of agricultural land, combined with early industrialization, probably halted the so-called Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 18th century, slowing down or even reversing a cooling trend, according to the researchers.

“It’s certainly possible that mankind’s various activities contributed towards extending our ice age interval by keeping carbon dioxide levels high enough,” Franzen said. “Without the human impact, the inevitable progression toward an ice age would have continued.”

The earth experienced at least 30 periods of ice age in the past 3 million years, according to the university. There were no emissions of fossil carbon in earlier interglacial periods, and carbon sequestration in peat lands may have been one of the main reasons why ice age conditions occurred, according to Franzen.

“The spread of peat lands is an important factor,” Franzen said. “If we accept that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to an increase in global temperature, the logical conclusion must be that reduced levels lead to a drop in temperature.”

End quote

janeainsworth Sun 11-Nov-12 19:05:06

It sounds logical Bags but how much CO2 is enough to prevent an Ice Age and how much is too much?

jeni Sun 11-Nov-12 19:57:32

Sounds very logical. More so than global warming. But I suppose in some ways it's a combination of both. Or am I being stupid?

Nanadog Sun 11-Nov-12 20:37:46

.bags I have to admire your drive and tenacity. I give up.

Nelliemoser Sun 11-Nov-12 22:42:54

For heavens sake ice ages are a long way off.

You really have to think of Ice Ages in geological terms which is millions of years. We are considered to be in an interglacial period at the moment.

The earth is reckoned to be 4.5 billion years old. (A billion is a thousand million this side of the pond.)
If you are a creationist its about 4.5 thousand years old and arrived fully formed with major geological uncomformities already in place.

I quote from wikipedia

"Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Pleistocene glaciation, the current ice age or simply the ice age, refers to the period from 2.58 Ma (million years ago) to present"
The last ice retreated from the British isles about 12,000 to 10,000 yrs ago.

From what I understand the effects of current global warming are likely to cause a lot of serious environmental damage in at least our children's lifetime.

Don't lets get carried away by worrying about a forthcoming ice age. The predicted global warming will get us first.

FlicketyB Mon 12-Nov-12 19:32:28

Climate change is nothing new. It has been going on since the world began. At times the world has been covered in ice, at other times the poles have been almost tropical.

It has been suggested that the success of hominoids has been because of their ability to adapt to changes in climate and environment. Why should it be any different now?

Climate change doesnt damage environments, it changes them, sometimes they deteriorate, sometimes they improve.